The day after Dennis Hof won the Republican primary for a seat in the Nevada State Assembly, the state’s GOP establishment shunned the brothel owner and star of HBO’s Cathouse. Senator Dean Heller, Governor Brian Sandoval, and Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the Republican nominee to replace Sandoval, immediately declined to support Hof. They were followed by the Nevada Assembly Republican Caucus, which voted to stay out of the race following Hof’s primary win over incumbent Republican assemblyman James Oscarson.
But something changed for the Nevada Republican Party this week. Hof died. Now, the GOP is planning to do everything it can to get the late pimp elected, according to the Nevada Independent.
Nevada Republicans are planning a campaign to persuade voters to cast ballots for former Assembly candidate and brothel owner Dennis Hof, who died suddenly on Tuesday, a knowledgeable source confirmed Wednesday.
Although details are sparse, the effort is a clear indication of Republican efforts to ensure they hold a reliably Republican-leaning Assembly District despite the untimely death of the candidate.
Despite the reliably Republican district, carrying Hof’s corpse over the finish line could be a challenge. Though his name will still appear on the ballot — Nevada law says it has to — signs will be posted in polling places alerting voters that Hof has died.
If Hof wins though, and the expectation is that he will, the Nevada GOP is guaranteed to keep the seat. “State law holds that if the deceased candidate wins an election, the office is considered vacated and must be filled by the board of county commissioners with a person of the same political party,” the Independent reports.
Before he died, Hof was the heavy favorite to win the general election in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a two-to-one margin. He also held a sizable fundraising advantage. His Democratic opponent, Lesia Romanov, raised only $1,405 in the primary, while Hof loaned himself $200,000.
Now that he’s dead, there’s a chance Hof gets even more votes, his campaign manager told Reuters. “There are a lot of Republicans who were uncomfortable voting for Dennis because of the nature of his business and they now know that he is not the one who will be serving,” Chuck Muth said. “They will feel much more comfortable casting the ballot for him knowing there will be another Republican to replace him.”
Hof rode to victory in the June primary by modeling himself after President Trump, a man who served as a his “Christopher Columbus,” he said. “He found the way and I jumped on it,” said Hof, who gave his book the Trumpian title The Art of the Pimp. He also adopted the nickname “Trump of Pahrump,” after the Nevada town he called home. And his campaign slogan was “Make Nevada, Nevada Again.”
“Am I riding the Trump train? Hell yes I am,” Hof told the Las Vegas Sun in July. “He blazed the trail for me. I would have never won the primary without what Donald Trump did. He carved a new dimension into the political realm, and I’m one of the beneficiaries of it.”
Like Trump, Hof relished the opposition from mainstream Republicans. In fact, he saw it as an advantage. Governor Sandoval, he said, could “come down to any of my ranches once a month for free” as long as he continued to withhold support.
As for who may take Hof’s place if he wins the election posthumously, incumbent James Oscarson, whom the Bunny Ranch owner beat in the primary, seems the likeliest candidate, even if Hof would have probably preferred someone like his buddy Ron Jeremy.